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Traditional spices used in Myanmar Cuisine

November 09, 2020 - 2697 views

Myanmar cuisine includes the sophistication of Southeast Asia such as the spicy taste and fish sauce of Thailand, the strong spice of India, combined with the way Chinese food is prepared. Therefore Myanmar dishes often have a sour taste with a bit bitter and salty.

Myanmar spice

Myanmar spice

Myanmar has received a large amount of food and spices from India such as curry and naan bread. The second major influence on Myanmar cuisine comes from the northern mountains from China. Many dishes and ingredients come from China such as soy sauce and noodles. Today most dishes in Myanmar reflect Chinese cuisine, although almost all are local food. Other neighboring countries also bring changes in Myanmar cuisine, including foods from the Middle East, Thailand, and other Southeast Asian countries. Unlike in Thailand, food in Myanmar tends to be less spicy.

Myanmar people often use spices that are derived from herbs and processed them depending on their medical properties. Burmese believed that “food is medicine and medicine is food” and the fermented spice is also a feature of Myanmar cuisine.

1. Ngapi

Ngapi is considered an indispensable pungent paste in traditional Burmese meals, they use ngapi in almost dishes. Fermenting salted fish or shrimp then drying to become “Ngapi”. There some types of ngapi such as Ngapi Kuang (made from whole fish), Mhyin Ngapi (made from small fishes) or shrimp one, etc.



Ngapi is often added in soup, salad, main dishes, rice, and a dip for raw vegetables. In some coastal cities like Ayeyarwady and Tanintharyi, Ngapi made from fresh and salty fishes. However, Upper Myanmar and Shan people have no habit of using ngapi in their dishes.

2. Mango pickle



Mango pickle can be made from green, ripe, or dried mangoes then adding vinegar, sugar, chili powder, fresh chilies, salt, garlic and mustard seeds, etc. Mango pickle is often eaten with Myanmar curry and Biryani.

3. Turmeric

Golden Color Made Of Turmeric

Golden Color Made Of Turmeric

Turmeric is used to add more color and flavor to many dishes, the famous Shan rice is also mixed with turmeric to create an attractive golden color. The root is also used as traditional medicine.

4. Tamarind

Dried tamarind is used to add a more sour taste to dishes, tamarind leaves and flowers often added to soup and salad. It is also a favorable sauce to eat with pastry and donuts in Myanmar.

5. Chili power

Chili power

Chili power

Green chilies called “sky-gazing” have the hottest taste, which is very popular in Myanmar. They are dried or roasted then pounded to make chili power which used in many Myanmar dishes.

6. Curry leaf

Myanmar curry is a famous traditional dish that you should not miss when travel to this country and curry leaf is an important spice that can be forgotten.

7. Galangal



Locals in Rakhine use galangal to cook the broth for Mohinga fish noodles because the roots have aromatic and good for health.

Myanmar people pay close attention to meals because eating is an important social activity here. Although they use many traditional medicines as a spice, it is also mixed very reasonably to become a delicious and healthy dish that will satisfy tourists.

Thanh Van

(Image source: Internet)

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